Mecca is in danger. The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) declared it may attack Mecca and its many Muslim pilgrims, according to the Huffington Post.
ISIS claims that, by its leader “Caliph Ibrahim,” they are called by Allah to purify Islam. “Caliph” is the Muslim successor to Muhammad and is the supreme religious and political leader of the Muslim world. The self-proclaimed caliph of ISIS is Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. ISIS thinks they must destroy Mecca’s holy antiquities. The group considers Muslim pilgrims as followers who have made the antiquities into idols. ISIS also believes Allah called them to create a worldwide Islamic state, or “caliphate.” A caliphate is led by the caliph.
The claim to this holy call is similar to the Saudi beginning of its Wahhabist branch of Sunni Islam. Both Sunni nations – Saudi Arabia and ISIS – conflict over who is the true Islamic state.
Saudi Arabia’s form of Islam, called Wahhabism, began in the 1700s. The movement sought worldwide legitimacy and expansion, similar to the current plan of ISIS. Sunni Muslims of Iraq and Syria have since adopted the Wahhabist convictions.
To fund their efforts, ISIS ransacks historic sites, steals ancient items, and sells them on the black market. The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) confirmed that ISIS profits enormously from selling the items it pillages. For example, ISIS made $36 million from selling 8,000-year-old antiquities, according to the Guardian.
Early news reports said that Saudi Arabia funds ISIS. If Saudi Arabia did, they are not likely doing it anymore. Not with threats to attack Mecca, Muslim’s most sacred place on earth. It contains what some people think is a preserved footprint of Abraham and a cornerstone laid by Mohammad.
Could it be that ISIS plans to pillage these artifacts? Is this how ISIS plans to fund their attack on more powerful nations like Saudi Arabia?
However, Saudi Arabia is an extremely wealthy oil-rich state. It is the fastest-growing, largest economy in the Middle East and has the highest oil revenue. It spends more on defense than any other nation in the region and is the world’s seventh largest military spender, says the Atlantic Council.
Undaunted, ISIS already bombed the Saudi Arabian border area of Arar, EuroAsiaNews reports. Abdullah has ordered that ‘all necessary measures’ be taken to protect Saudi Arabia against “terror threats.” In addition, a Saudi official confirmed to CNN World that the Saudi “security forces are on highest alert.”
Hopefully, with their military preparation and with our prayers, danger can be averted.
PRAY that God will protect the pilgrims traveling to Mecca. PRAY that He will give them an encounter with the Prince of Peace, our Lord Jesus Christ (The Bible, Luke 2:14).
PRAY that God will confuse ISIS’ plans to destroy and pillage historic sites to fund their battles (The Bible, Psalm 55:9).
PRAY that God will bring justice and joy to the Arabian Peninsula (The Bible, Proverbs 21:5).